Episode 28 is up!

What is this sudden wellspring of posts on the blog? I have no doubt there’s a drought to come blog wise, so let’s just let these words flow for now.

In episode 28, we discuss Fear Street: The New Boy by RL Stine. Surge was positive that The New Boy would be a gender flipped The New Girl. Needless to say, he was wrong. There were a few callbacks to the book that started the series, but overall, it didn’t quite follow in The New Girl‘s footsteps. What’s interesting is that there have been many books in the series thus far that could have been called The New Boy, for instance First Date was all about Chelsea going on a series of dates with the new boy in school, The Fire Game was all about a new boy in school starting up a fire game. In fact, a new kid in school tends to be the plot to many of the books in the series. So what makes The New Boy so special in regards to that specific plot point to earn the title? Probably because the main plot title would just be too odd or super generic. Fear Street Stolen MoneyFear Street The Bet? Fear Street Fixed TransmissionFear Street: Gotta Pay for Yale? And this whole thing leads to why we weren’t blown away with this book. It seems like RL Stine didn’t quite know what to do with these plot points and they were hamfisted together pretty obviously. All the plot points suffered and so did the characters. Poor Eve and poor Faith. And poor readers.

On the bright side, we were able to review a fantastic collection of short stories at the top of the cast. Sarim Baig’s debut collection of short stories Saints and Charlatans from Mongrel books. Currently, it’s only available in Pakistan but we’re told the ebooks will be available world wide shortly. A fantastically well written collection of stories that makes us look forward to any future works to come from Sarim Baig.

Without further ado, episode 28 can be heard here.


Episode 23 is now up!

Wow, it’s been awhile. 2017 came and went and now we’re at the 2nd year of our podcast. We had highs and lows last year for our podcast and kind of disappeared at the end of the year due to work and travel. But 2018 brings a new year and new goals and a fresh slate.  And what’s a better way to welcome in a new year for a podcast than posting a new episode?

In this episode, we talk about Fear Street Cheerleaders: The Second Evil. It’s a continuation of the First Evil (obviously), but because it’s serialized, we get to know some of these character a lot more than we do in normal books. This book deals with Corky’s loss. Not only is she battling a demon, but she’s battling internal demons as well.  Returning to normalcy is something I imagine all Fear Street protagonists strive to achieve after their book is done, but it’s not something we get to see. The reader is left to assume that their aftermath is positive off the pages. For Corky, is there for us plain as day. However, normalcy isn’t something that Fear Street is quite ready to give her yet.

We also review two books that we quite enjoyed in 2017. First was C. Robert Cargill’s Sea of Rust. A book about the post-human robot apocalypse apocalypse? A scavenger bot doing her best to live when all signs point otherwise. Yes humans are extinct, but in a way we were able to live on with these robots.  The second book was Nina Berkhout’s The Mosaic. A book about a young woman finding herself in a town that wants her to become one thing.  In a weird way these two book are connected. Both Brittle and Twyla are faced with questions about their independence and their existence. Both Brittle and Twyla fight back in their own ways.

One interesting thing in The Mosaic are the namesakes in the book. Gabriel is making mosaics in his silo made of spent ammunition. If you’re interested in seeing what it may look like, check out the work by artist John Tan has created.

Without further adieu, take a listen at episode 23 up now!


Episode 20 Fear Street First Date is up!

Once again, Surge and Anna return to discuss the next installment of the Fear Street series. Here, we talk about Fear Street 16: First Date.

To be honest, it wasn’t our favorite book of all time, but at least it wasn’t our least favorite. The first date wasn’t what really stood out to us. Well, that’s kind of a lie, that first date was hilarious. But what really stood out was Chelsea’s storyline of moving into a new town and being the new kid in school. Both of us moved around as kids, so we felt Chelsea’s pain of trying to make new friends and feeling like we didn’t fit in. It’s a horrible feeling that you don’t need to move to Fear Street to feel. Of course, moving to a street that kids avoid (but are oddly drawn to) doesn’t help matters.

Listen to our review of Fear Street 16: First Date here!

Episode 8 is now up!

Going into the recording session, Surge hadn’t quite figured out how he felt about Fear Street: Haunted. In fact, immediately after finishing the book, he ran downstairs and said something along the lines of “let’s record, I need to figure this out”. Anna was in the middle of the season 3 finale of Black Mirror but hey, you record when you have to.

What can be said about the book without spoiling too much? Well, we can say that our predictions were off. We can also say that numerology still seems to play a large role in the Fear Street books, if you know Mandarin and German. RL Stine, we’re on to you.

What can we say with tons of spoilers?  HOLY SHIT THERE’S A REAL GHOST ON FEAR STREET! This is what we’ve been waiting for!! Yeah.

What the main point of Haunted was though? Income and class disparity in Shadyside. We saw that a bit in Fear Street: The Sleepalker, with Mayra having to earn money to help the family out. But it’s clear as day here. Melissa comes from a very well to do family: both her parents are lawyers, she lives in a Victorian mansion, she gets a car for her birthday, and her family has a live in maid. Part of this book also takes place in the “poor” part of town, or the Old Village. RL Stine goes out of his way to describe the shabbiness of this part of town. The yards are more overgrown and smaller. The houses are falling apart. We enter Paul’s house and the contrast could not be more stark. Whereas Melissa has everything she could ever want in her room, Paul has a utilitarian room. A bed, a light, a counter built in to the wall, and a trashcan. Paul has grown up in an environment where he doesn’t always get what he wants, and he can see that there are people on the other side of town who don’t struggle the same way. And this rage boils within him and causes him to do some pretty awful things. But the thing is, the “rich” in the book doesn’t necessarily come off much better. Melissa’s friend makes fun of a less well to do girl in the mall who “dares” to be poor. However, because her dad grew up in poverty, he instilled values in Melissa to make sure it never went to her head. So Melissa stands up to her friend and lectures her about what she is saying. The thing is, the friend  didn’t really care despite Melissa’s best efforts.

RL Stine could be writing horror shlock to sell more books, but he chose to write about something more. This isn’t a book about being haunted by something. It’s a book about how much the environment we grow up in shapes and affects us. And even more importantly, how much we let it shape us.  Income inequality is an important topic, and for it to be a issue in a Fear Street book was a big deal.

Before our discussion on Fear Street:Haunted, Anna reviews We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. A new YA book that was recommended by booktuber ProblemsOfABookNerd.

Without further ado, check out Episode 08 – Fear Street 7: Haunted on Spreaker.

Episode 7 now out!

In the latest installment of the Fear Street series, The Sleepwalker, we see Mayra sleepwalking down to Fear Lake. It’s actually kind of terrifying if you think about it. Even the most relaxed person likes to have a semblance of control over their life. To have a sleepwalking problem is basically having no conscious control over what you are doing. Mayra almost drowns in Fear Lake in her sleep. Terrifying.

Surge and Anna do make light of it at times, but seriously, if you have this problem, go get a sleep study done. We also come off pretty judgey about how her mom handles it. Which, hey, we’re not parents. Maybe it’s not fair for us to do that. Props to her mom for trying her best.

On a lighter note, we did struggle in figuring out how to pronounce Mayra. We couldn’t decide if it was like “Myra” or maybe “May-ra”, so we just went all out and found a different perhaps unique way. It actually sounds pretty cool, but you need to listen to find out how.

Anna also reviewed The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker at the start. It’s a stellar book about friendship and unbreakable bonds that people should definitely check out. For a longer review you have to listen to the episode!

On that note, listen to Episode 07 – Fear Street 6: The Sleepwalker on Spreaker.

Episode 4 Youtube is now up!

The Youtube version of episode 4 is up! Please check it out!
You may notice that it was uploaded over a week ago, our bad for not letting you guys know earlier.

We do prefer the youtube version of this episode over the spreaker one for a simple reason, we may have had an equipment mishap during recording so the wrong mic was used for recording. The visuals truly help tie the episode together.  Another bonus with having visuals? You can see how to check for someones vitals in an emergency situation with visuals. Obviously, a Red Cross or American Heart Association class would be advised as well.

It was a fun book and as outdoors people, we definitely dug it.

Anna also reviewed Sarah Kuhn’s book Heroine Complex. Anna has wanted to branch out into reading more Asian-American authored/featured books so this was on the top of her list courtesy of Drunk Monk Podcast.  There’s a story within the book that is completely relatable to any Asian American who has brought their favorite “native” food to school. The book also made us check the movie Heroic Trio out from the library and we look forward to watching that.


Fifth episode out!

Sorry for the extreme delay and the lack of posting. Our fifth episode is finally out! Anna didn’t take her editing tools with her when she was out of town and now has to deal with the backlog of work here. There is still the youtube video for episode 4 that needs to get made. Much apologies to all our subscribers.

We got around to reviewing Fear Street 4: Missing. This is both Anna and Surge’s favorite Fear Street book. It has a premise we can all relate to and then twists and turns not even the most acute eye could catch. Seriously, the mental whiplash this book puts you through is insane.

The book also is full of material for the giant conspiracy that we here at RetRead are trying to uncover. Is the evil corporation that has been brought up by us actually Cranford Corp? Those glowing rhinestone eyes in the monkey skull…could that be what they are mining? So many dots to connect, so little time.

Before this, we got a chance to review Last Machine in the Solar System by Matthew Isaac Sobin. This is a highly recommended book by both Anna and Surge. If you are a fan of Isaac Asimov, you need to read this.

Listen to “Episode 05 – Fear Street 4: Missing” on Spreaker.


Episode 3 Youtube up!

We know it’s taken forever, but the Youtube version of Episode 3: Fear Street 2 The Surprise Party  is finally up! Our Youtube version has visuals that go along with everything we’re talking about, so if you want to see what we’re seeing in our head as we speak, check it out!

Episode 3 was a tough episode to edit. We started with an hour and a half worth of content, but sadly had to cut it down to only 40 minutes.  There are definitely some general Fear Street topics we see that need to be discussed, so we’re going to have some randocasts about that. It might sound a bit choppy because of that, we hope the visuals help you understand our thought processes.

Third episode out!

Our third episode is finally out! We spend a bit of time talking about Fear Street The Surprise Party by RL Stine. What really struck us was how great a heroine Meg was, she stuck to her guns and saved the day. Really a 180 from Cory. Speaking of Cory, despite Surge’s predictions, Cory, Lisa, Dave, and Arnie all appeared in this book. Not Anna, she’s still dead. Podcasting Anna got to gloat about how right she was that Cory and Lisa were doomed from the start. But that’s ok, Surge was able to enjoy the murder mystery of this book.

Anna also gives a review of Flying Lessons and Other Stories, a collection of short stories edited by Ellen Oh. There was one story in the book that Anna didn’t think belonged as part of the anthology. We get into it in the episode.

Listen to “Episode 03 – Fear Street 2: The Surprise Party” on Spreaker.



Check out Episode 2 on Youtube!

The video for episode 2 is now up on Youtube. You might have heard us talk about The New Girl via audio, but do you want to hear us talk about it with visuals? No need to wait here it is, our second episode on Youtube.  Sometimes it’s nice to see what people are talking about when they’re talking about it. After all, it lets you get to know us a little more. We’re really proud of what we’ve done so far, and we hope you’ll give us a lsiten and watch.


PS: Cory and Lisa guys, Cory and Lisa.